- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- The Dallas Stars hit the ice for their first practice today at the MacLauchlan Arena on the campus of the University of Prince Edward Island.
The Stars practiced in two groups simultaneously on separate rinks for a little more than an hour and then scrimmaged for 30 minutes. Team White beat Team Black, 1-0. The only goal came when a Trevor Daley shot from the left point made its way through traffic and got by Kari Lehtonen.
“I thought it was a really good first day,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “That first day you are kind of getting a feel for the ice and you are getting a feel for that body contact. That’s the biggest change that happens once you get into the first day. They can skate pretty hard in their workouts, but the body contact is the big change. “
Crawford said there was some time spent on introducing systems, including their defensive zone coverage and how they want to play in the neutral zone. It was also a first chance to get a good look the newer players.
“It was our first chance to see players like [Severin] Blindenbacher, [Tomas] Vincour, [Scott] Glennie and some of the kids that were in Traverse City,” Crawford said. “It’s a chance to see how far the players that played with Texas in the AHL have come. And it’s a chance to see the players you know that played in the Dallas and see how hard they worked in the summer. We’re getting a chance to see how well conditioned guys like [James] Neal and [Matt] Niskanen really are. They’ve put a lot of effort into their conditioning. It showed right away.”
Neal and Niskanen agreed to contracts on Thursday, allowing them to be at camp on time. Neal got to skate with his teammates for the first time in a long time on Saturday.
“It was a long summer, a long process and it’s good to be back,” said Neal. “It’s time to move forward. … Whenever you are negotiating contracts, it takes time and I am glad it is over with, and I am glad that we can get going.”
There was a pretty good crowd on hand at the arena. PEI natives Brad Richards and Steve Ott were big draws, but so were the Dallas Stars as a whole. There were a lot people at the rink in Stars gear. Among them was Chuck Cole, whose loyalty to the organization dates to the North Stars era. He drove from St. John, New Brunswick, with his wife and two children.
“It’s a great opportunity to see them at ice level and up close and personal,” said Cole.
Here was the practice lineup for today:
FORWARD LINE COMBINATIONS
29dFrom the NHLPA